Scecchi: donkeys in Sicilian


Jules Verne Times Two - CC4.0

In Sicily donkeys are called scecchi. The origin of this term is linked to the legend of King Miramolino.
It is said that, at the time of Arab domination in Sicily, King Miramolino worked to achieve mutual tolerance between the Sicilian and Arab people. On the advice of his young daughter, Princess Nevara, who was in love with a Sicilian nobleman, the King tried to avoid confrontation and to ensure that the two peoples approached and coexisted peacefully. Miramolino therefore allowed the Sicilians to continue working the land and to trade by sea and land, but to underline his power he ordered that the Sicilians not carry weapons, not mount horses and not ring the church bells.
The Sicilians they agreed not to use weapons, not to ring the church bells, but they didn't tolerate not riding horses. The Sicilians thought that if they couldn't, then the Arabs couldn't ride the horses either. They then decided to poison all the troughs and, in short, all the horses on the island died. The Arabs then set up ships to bring new horses from North Africa, but following a terrible storm, all the ships, except one, sank. But on board that ship there were only donkeys.
The Arabs began to ride donkeys and the situation appeared so ridiculous that the Sicilians, seeing the sheikhs riding donkeys, began to call the donkeys scecchi.
. King Miramolino then thought of making a new law and requiring everyone to bow to the passage of the donkeys, but once again his daughter Nevara pointed out to him that the provision would have exacerbated relations too much, as well as making it appear ridiculous. Following the advice the king annulled this and the previous laws. Thus it was that the Sicilians returned to riding horses, carrying weapons and ringing the bells, but since then the donkeys have always been called scecchi.